Stevia has immense health benefits. And some of the things that it does to your body is reducing weight, lowering blood pressure, reducing excess blood sugar, preventing certain cancers, building bones strong, preventing cavities,and ensuring general oral health.
In matters of nutrition and human health, stevia may be considered one of the most breakthrough discoveries. Stevia includes over 240 species of small flowering plants and shrubs in the Asteraceae family. Asteraceae is the family to which sunflowers belong.
In different parts of the world, stevia is known differently. Sometimes it is also referred to as sugar leaf or sweet leaf. Stevia’s scientific name is Stevia rebaudiana. It is a common plant in the tropical pockets of South and North America. What is of the utmost importance here is the fact that stevia is around 40 times more sweet than sugar. And guess what? It doesn’t cause all the harmful effects that sugar causes on the body.
Although people have been using this plant for centuries for its sweet tasting leaves, its popularity was not widespread. But the scene is different today. Its popularity is spreading like wildfire. And more and more people are taking to it because of its sweetness. So, they can use it as an alternative to sugar without exposing themselves to all the hazards that sugar causes. This is a blessing in disguise for all the people who are suffering from diabetes.
Today there are innumerable research studies going on that aim at exploring the health benefits of this miracle plant. And with more studies having proved that stevia is a great alternative to sugar, more and more countries are adopting it not just as a sweetener but also as a food additive.
So, what basically happens when you take stevia? And why doesn’t it add to the sugar level of your body? Well, the molecules with which the sweetening element in stevia is made of are used up in the colon by bacteria, and are not absorbed in the bloodstream. That means these molecules behave like sugar molecules in just one way- offering a sweet taste. Because of this they can be added to carbohydrate-controlled diets without apprehensions. Being a sweetening agent is not what stevia does; it also has immense nutritive value.
Stevia and its nutritional value-
If you thought making food sweet is all what stevia does, then you couldn’t be more wrong. Stevia is packed with antioxidant compounds such as quercetin, tannins, triterpenes, caffeic acid, kaempferol, flavonoids etc. Other nutrients present in stevia are vitamin C and A, protein, magnesium, potassium, and iron. What more? Stevia is an amazing source of fibre. Nevertheless, these nutrients are present in stevia’s unprocessed form. That means, in its sweetener form, the amount of these elements present is almost negligible. It is the smaller organic compounds present in stevia that play the real nutritive role.
If you want to use stevia, and want to be sure you are taking the right stevia product, make sure you procure it from good stevia manufacturers.